Category Archives: Ultra Garrison & TDF

Spiegel & Ultra Hawk 1

I hear that Tsuburaya Productions’ preparation for “Ultra Seven” got started near the end of “Ultraman.”

But, as posted previously, as the Ultra Series broadcast by TBS, Toei’s “Captain Ultra” came in between.

I knew that the early Ultra Series included “Captain Ultra.”

And  I did watch and enjoyed it in those days as a child.

But I thought that it was between “Ultra Q” and “Ultraman” when it was broadcast.

 

One reason is that both “Ultra Q” and “Captain Ultra” had no Ultra hero, just humans fight against monsters.

Another reason is…

I don’t mean to be rude to Toei Company, but I found it quite unlikely that “Captain Ultra” was a product which came after “Ultraman.”

The quality of Tsuburaya’s SFX stood out so much.

I also think that the designing by Tohl Narita for the Ultra Series played an important role in making the Tsuburaya’s products look more sophisticated.

 

Be that as it may, I remember I enjoyed “Captain Ultra” as well doubtlessly.

It’s likely that “Ultra Seven” was initially planned as a space opera product like “Captain Ultra” with a provisional title of “Ultra Garrison” without no appearance of an Ultra hero like Ultraman.

Spiegel, the spaceship driven by Captain Ultra, separates into three parts each of which flies individually.

The concept was taken over to Ultra Hawk 1 appearing in “Ultra Seven” which also separates into three fighters.

(The photos are the ones of the toys I found on the Web.)


Ultra is well-balanced!

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Taicho Kiriyama (right) & Taicho Kurata (“Ultra Seven” Episode 13)

I think another attractive point of the early Ultra Series is the union between the drama part and SFX part.

Regarding the shooting of the Ultra Series, as I wrote before, the drama part featuring the human actors and the SFX part featuring monsters, Ultra heroes or the defense team equipment were shot separately and simultaneously to save time and cost.

And it’s notable that these two parts match each other without hardly any feeling of strangeness especially in terms of the early trilogy subtitled “Fantasy SFX Series.”

 

If you split hairs, you may find inconsistencies in the drama, which I think is unavoidable to some degree in those days.

But I think it’s depicted quite carefully why the particular monster has appeared or how the humans act in face of it and son on.

If too much weight is attached to the human drama, that will make any monsters unnecessary.

On the other hand, if a monster just appears abruptly and meaninglessly apart from the human drama, that will make it look all the more unreal.

 

Either way the SFX drama like the Ultra Series will not work out.

I find a well-balanced union between the drama part and the SFX part in the early Ultra Series.

And it maximizes a synergistic effect between them.

It must deserve admiration that it offers entertainment for everyone portraying each human character properly without diminishing the attractiveness of monsters.

I love the early Ultra Series in this light as well!


Dan in a dilemma

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Dan caught in a dilemma (Episode 26)

In contrast with Hayata of “Ultraman,” Dan Moroboshi of “Ultra Seven” is portrayed more like a human. (Dan has his first name from the beginning unlike Hayata.)

In the setting, Hayata is a human united with Ultraman, and Dan is Ultra Seven in his own.

But Dan is often depicted more like an ordinary human in a sense.

He often gets caught in a dilemma between the aliens and the Earthlings.

And that troubles him a lot.

 

He gets at a loss over whether he should act as an Earthling or an alien.

Or which side he should take between Earthlings and aliens.

The world of the early Ultra is not necessarily the one between right and wrong.

That makes Dan troubled quite often.

In result, Dan has much more monologues to express his mind than Hayata.

 

“The Dark Zone” (Episode 6) and “Super Weapon R-1” (Episode 26) are about such stories.

In “The Stolen Ultra Eye” (Episode 37), Dan’s empathy with Alien Magellan, Maya, abandoned by her home is depicted.

“Ambassador of The Nonmalt” (Episode 42) presents a controversial story which could shake the identity of the series itself fundamentally.

It’s said such a profile of Dan reflects the identity crisis Tetsuo Kinjo, the main screenwriter for the early Ultra, had over the being of Okinawan and that of Tokyoite presumably conflicting within himself.

The age might not have allowed a mere hero any more.


“Pointer” looks cool!

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Among the TDF and UG equipment, I love Pointer most.

The design shows no signs of age (to me), and It still looks so cool even now!

There are fans who are so charmed with Pointer that they get their own by modifying their cars.

The design work was done by Tohl Narita in line with the other equipment such as Ultra Hawk 1-3.

It is said Pointer is based on Chrysler Imperial 1957 model.

 

Though it is set as an amphibious and ultra-fast speed supercar, it is likely it often stalled out during a take as it’s based on an almost discarded car.

But it was also used for transportation of cast members by detaching the rear wings on both sides.

And that made them embarrassed every time stopping at a red light because it got a lot of attention from people around.

 

While Pointer 1 (PO-1) regularly appears in the drama, you can see PO-II in Episode 4 and the MP version for use of the common TDF members in Episode 5.

As you may have noticed, the producers have only one Pointer for shooting.

So letters were just added to make it look like another Pointer.

In Episode 4, you can see plural Pointer lined in the parking area of the TDF base which were increased in number by compositing though it’s inconspicuous.


Ultra Hawk 2, 3 and the others

Ultra Hawk 2 is a space rocket used as a shuttle making a round trip between the underground base and Space Stations.

Also it is in use for battles in the space along with Ultra Hawk 1.

It can fly in the atmosphere as well.

The docking of Hawk 2 and Space Station was supposed to be depicted.

But It was not realized.

 

Ultra Hawk 3 flies exclusively in the atmosphere and is in use for patrolling or transporting the underground tank Magmariser.

It also fights with Hawk 1.

Hawk 3 appears from the launching pad behind a water fall.

The likeness of a secret base shown in such a way satisfied us at the time.

 

The underground tank Magmariser played an outstanding role, for example, in saving Seven’s life in Episode 40.

Or the unmanned Magmariser on auto pilot loaded with explosives rushed into the aliens’ underground base to destroy it in Episode 49 (the last episode).

The tank has a major presence with frequent appearances.

 

Hydrangers are submarines which also appeared a number of times in the drama and showed their impressive activities.

In the later Ultra or Ultraman Series, such underground tanks and submarines don’t appear as much as in “Seven.”

Each of the Space Station V1-V3  has Station Hawk 1 and 2 operative.

Great lineup, isn’t it?


Ultra Hawk 1

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The TDF and UG equipment also developed a lot in comparison with that of SSSP.

It is another charm “Ultra Seven” has and that makes it so much distinctive among all the Ultra or Ultraman Series.

First of all, an eye-opener is Ultra Hawk 1.

It is a large-sized six-seater battle plane which flies at the spped of Mach 4.

It can fly in the air and also in the space.

 

The point is Hawk 1 can separate into three battle planes, Alpha, Beta and Gamma, and join together again.

And the launching sequence of Ultra Hawk 1 is fabulous!

The launching platform goes up from underground with Hawk 1 on.

The hilltop opens aside and Hawk 1 takes off.

 

During the launching sequence, you can hear an English announcement by the flight control.

“Fourth gate, open!
Quickly! Quickly!
Fourth gate, open!
Fourth gate, open!
Twenty seconds before!
All out! All out!
Pull the throttle!
All right! Let’s go!”

 

Putting aside whether the English expression is accurate, it sounded so cool to a child of the time.

It is well known the announcement was voiced by Kazuho Mitsuta, one of the directors for Ultra Seven.

In Episode 7, you can watch exciting coalescence and separation scenes of Hawk 1.

It’s really exciting!!!

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TDF chief, staff officers & member

As previously described, Ultra Garrison belongs to the Terrestrial Defense Force Far East Base in Japan.

The chief and staff officers of the TDF also appear and take command of UG in the drama on a frequent basis.

That successfully makes the drama look more real.

 

Chief Yamaoka (age 55) heads the TDF Far East Base.

He is a man of military bearing.

But also as flexible as he accepts a suggestion from the subordinates and as warm-hearted as he gives weight to their lives.

He appeared in Episode 1, 5, 25 and the last episodes (48-49).

 

Staff Officer Takenaka (age 40) often appears in the drama.

He is also a man of dignity but very much considerate of the subordinates.

Kenji Sahara, who also acted Jun Manjome in “Ultra Q,” played Takenaka nicely.

 

Staff Officer Manabe (age 42) also appears in the drama frequently.

He is scrupulous and always keeps his wits about one.

He makes a hard-headed decision at times but is actually considerate.

 

Staff Officer Yanagawa (acted by Akihiko Hirata) and Staff Officer Bogarde only appeared in Episode 1.

 

Captain Kurata heads Space Station V3.

The TDF has three of them, V1, V2 and V3, as the first defense shield for Earth.

Despite bad-mouthing, he is hot-blooded man very much considerate of his men.

He enlisted at the same time as Kiriyama.

Kurata calls Kiriyama “Mole” probably because Kiriyama is with the TDF Far East Base deep underground.

Kiriyama calls Kurata “Villain.”

They are also good rivals.

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Kurata and Kiriyama

UG members

Ultra Garrison consists of 6 members.

The setting for each character is also a little more detailed in comparison with SSSP of “Ultraman.”

 

UG is headed by Taicho (captain) Kiriyama, born in Tokyo, age 38 with corps history of 16 years.

He is portrayed as a warm-hearted but sometimes strict captain.

 

Tai-in (member) Furuhashi is born in Hokkaido, age 29 with corps history of 7 years.

His first name is Shigeru.

He is called the most powerful man in the TDF.

 

Tai-in Soga is born in Kyushu at the age of 25 with corps history of 3 years.

He is the top-rated shooting champion of the TDF.

He is portrayed like a close friend with Dan.

 

Tai-in Amagi is born in Nagoya with corps history of 2 years.

He is explained as a good planner.

Intelligent guy but sometimes timid as he is scared of heights or gunpowder.

Satoshi Furuya, actor for Amagi, played Ultraman in the preceding “Ultraman.”

 

Tai-in Anne Yuri has corps history of 2 years with the age left unknown in the drama, but the probable age is 20.

She is a member of UG and also a medical doctor for Medical Center of the base.

She falls in love with Dan by degrees.

 

Tai-in Dan Moroboshi is, actually a spaceman from M-78, the 6th member of UG newly enrolled.

And Ultra Seven is regarded as the enigmatic 7th member.


TDF and UG

UG members in Operation Room

Another characteristic of “Ultra Seven” is a defense team depicted much much more precisely and larger-scaled than SSSP of “Ultraman.”

In the world of “Seven,” the defense team is Ultra Garrison and the Terrestrial Defense Force (TDF).

UG is part of the TDF and its elite team. (The name of “Ultra” comes from it.)

The secret installation of the TDF Far East Base is set as located deep underground near Mt. Fuji with 300 people at work.

 

Basically, only five SSSP members appeared in “Ultraman” though it is part of International Science Police Organization with the headquarter in Paris.

But in “Seven,” TDF is a militant organization on a global scale for defending Earth from space invaders.

And activities of the TDF members were also depicted precisely along with those of Ultra Garrison.

 

In case of SSSP of “Ultraman,” only one room where the SSSP members get together is usually shown because the other sets were actually not there.

But, in “Seven,” the Operation Room with lots of the common TDF members at work appeared along with the Staff Office and also Medical Center.

The set of passageways, though partially built, and the Flight Control, though the TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System, which broadcast “Seven”) controlling room was used for it, helped you to learn the scale of the installation.

The nice-looking base of the TDF really made us amazed and excited!!!

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Flight Control for Ultra Hawk 1